LaKya Brookins Named USC Female Athlete of the Year
April 24, 2009
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The University of South Carolina Athletics Department held its annual Gamecock Gala on Monday evening at Colonial Life Arena, and track and field sophomore Lakya Brookins was named the Female Athlete of the Year. The event honored the University's student-athletes for their accomplishments during the 2008-09 campaign. Student-athletes, coaches, administrators and special guests attended the elegant event, which featured a red carpet entrance, a first class dinner and special awards ceremony.
Brookins became the first Gamecock to win the national championship in the 60m dash when she took the title at the NCAA Indoor Championships this year at 7.13 seconds, setting an NCAA Indoor meet record in the process. She bested the rest of the field by over one-tenth of a second despite running in lane eight and shattered the former school record of 7.21. Her time is the second-fastest time in the world this year and the top time for a collegiate. She earned her second All-America certificate with the win after placing ninth in the event in 2008.
Senior Jason Richardson was honored with two awards at the Gala. The hurdler was honored with the SEC McWhorter Scholarship worth $7,500 and was also named the men's track and field MVP. Junior Brandi Cross earned women's track and field MVP honors.
Other track and field members also earned nominations for various awards. Freshman Nadonnia Rodrigues was nominated for the "Female New Student of the Year" after earning SEC Freshman Runner of the Year honors. She accounted for 16 of Carolina's 57 team points at the SEC Indoor meet, ranked eighth nationally in the 400m dash and ran the second leg of the 4x400m relay team that won the SEC title.
Sophomore Johnny Dutch was nominated for the "Earnest Brooks Male Athlete of the Year" award. Dutch earned his first All-America honor after placing third at the NCAA Indoor Championships at a personal best 7.71 seconds in the 60m hurdles. Dutch also ran the second leg of the SEC silver medalist 4x400m relay team that had the nation's second-fastest time this year. The relay team then placed fourth at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
Senior Ronnetta Alexander was nominated for two awards: "Female Scholar Athlete of the Year" and the "Gamecock Inspiration Award." The redshirt senior is a graduate of the pharmacy program and has earned multiple All-America citations throughout her career. Alexander missed the entire 2008 season with an Achilles injury, but returned in 2009 to place third in the 60m hurdles at the SEC Indoor Championships and earn a bid to the NCAA championships. Alexander continued to work towards getting healthy while attending pharmacy school.
Senior Jason Cook was nominated for "Male Scholar Athlete of the Year". The shot putter was an NCAA qualifier for the first time this season and was the SEC runner-up.
A complete list of the award recipients is below:
SEC McWhorter Scholarship: Ashton Payne, Jason Richardson